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A Chinese Opium Smoker

PASTOR HSI was born probably in the autumn of
        1836.   Till he was seven years old the little Hsi
lived the usual free life of the son of a Chinese scholar,
and was encouraged in every way to be overbearing and
self-willed.   Then he was sent to school, a school where a
shrine of Confucius occupied the place of honour.   Here
the boy begins the studies which, it is hoped, will make
him a "Princely Man."
   But, favourable though circumstances are, they do
not satisfy the heart of this boy.   At the early age of eight
years, as he wandered through the incense-filled Temple
and gazed at the hideous idols and vivid representations
of punishments and terrors beyond the grave, he would
ask himself, what was the use of living.   "Men find no
good, and in the end--?"
he said to himself.
   When told that he could win fame, and wealth and
become a great Mandarin, the thought would come:
"What good is there in that?   Sooner or later one must
  And with his years this fear of death and the here-
after increased.   Dark and dreary years they were.   He
married at 16, but lost her whilst quite a young man,
and though he was in great repute, and looked up to by
all who knew him, holding an honourable position in his
village, the death of his wife brought back all his dread
of the terrors of the hereafter.   He set to work to study
the various "faiths" around, if haply he might find rest
to his soul, but so great was his distress that he became
quite ill.   Then came the opium fiend.   "Just a little,
enough to make him forget--he could always leave it off,"

his friends said.   Could he?   He knew full well the awful
power of the drug, for he had seen its victims--scholarly
men, like himself, some of them--sitting in the dirt and
dust of the highway, and begging for a bit of opium,
without which they could not live, and having it must die.
He succumbed to temptation at last, and became a con-
firmed smoker, hating the depths to which he sank, but
sinking deeper still.
   Then came David Hill with the message of salvation--
the good news of sins forgiven and eternal life.   Later on,

he went to David Hill's house to help him with "essays"
(the net David Hill used to catch this scholarly gentle-
man), and had, perforce, to study the New Testament;
the Book answered all his doubts, set all his fears at rest.
"[J]oy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Peter 1. 8) was his
indeed.   The darkness of past years was lost in the glory
of God which he saw in the face of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord Jesus Christ was everything to him from that
time.   The chains which opium had flung around him
were snapped by the Holy Spirit's power.
   Hsi spent himself in his Master's service until his Home-
call came, after some months' of illness, on Feb. 19th,
1896, at the age of about 60.

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